Power Yoga

The smell of incense wafted through the room, which was dimly lit and very warm indeed.

I settled into my mat, trying to get calm. Legs criss-crossed, palms on my knees.

Breath in.

Breath out.

Suddenly, the teacher sprang into action and I did my best to follow. She moved quickly from one pose to another. Some of the poses were familiar to me, but a lot of them were new.

Archer pose?

Crow pose?

No matter. I tried to clear my mind and just do the parts I could. The class seemed to be organized into small sequences of poses, always starting pretty easy and familiar, and then working their way toward hard, then harder, and ending with impossible.


I followed along on the easy parts, but man, this teacher was going so fast!

At the end of each sequence I just sort of hung out, sitting and waiting on my mat, while she sped through the really hard poses — –poses, by the way, that no one in the class could do.

I thought to myself, Well, that’s what I get for coming to POWER YOGA instead of my usual Restorative-Healing-Relaxing-Yoga-Meditation class. 

But as the class continued, it became more and more clear that I wasn’t alone and the teacher was completely oblivious to us. She had her moves, and gosh-darned-it she was going to show us her moves!

By the end of the class, I was dripping with sweat. I had forgotten my water bottle and was feeling dehydrated, with a headache coming on. Exhausted and frustrated, I tried to calm my mind and close my eyes for shavasana. Now I know why they call it ‘death pose,’ I thought and then worked on clearing my mind.

I imagined I was laying outside on a beautiful sunny day, watching fluffy white clouds float by. I let myself relax completely, imagining the sounds of birds tweeting and wind rustling through the trees.

And then, I was startled out of my mediation by a pair of cold, bony hands, pressing down on my shoulders firmly. I know I must have involuntarily frowned, even with my eyes closed. Next, a cold wash cloth was placed over my eyelids–which would have felt wonderful, except that the cloth was heavily perfumed.

After what seemed like ages, the bony hands released my shoulders, leaving me to inhale the perfumed wash rag left on my face.

I lay there, stewing with frustration. Was I really too sheepish to just take the washcloth off my face? Was I really too worried about how the owner of the bony hands would feel if I didn’t like her washcloth on me?

This was the worst yoga class ever!

The perfume and the incense was making my headache much, much worse. I thought of my migraine medicine, in the cabinet below the bathroom sink back at home.

The end of class finally came. Dazed, sick, and muscles sore I rolled up my mat and fumbled my way out the door and out into the fresh cold outdoor air.

I thought to myself,  God, I hope I don’t do this to my students when I’m teaching!



2 thoughts on “Power Yoga

  1. I applaud your persevering to the end! Your writing also caused me to reflect about being in tune with students, with honoring preferences, with “doing no harm.” Sometimes when I am in “Gentle Yoga,” I chide myself for not pushing to the hard stuff, but then I realize that for me, the important part of yoga is the spiritual restoration and balance it gives me. There’s nothing wrong with that:).


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